Monsanto pressing for GMO sugar beet ban to be lifted

(NaturalNews) Sugar beet farmers from across the country are bemoaning the court ruling from last October that barred any further plantings of genetically-modified (GM) sugar beets until proper safety studies have been completed. But according to a recent Associated Press (AP) report, Monsanto spin doctors and industry groups have been busy petitioning the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to allow limited, self-monitored plantings of the crop in order to avoid what they say will be the devastation of the domestic sugar market.

Not only Monsanto, but a slew of sugar producer organizations are requesting that the USDA lift the ban so that farmers will have something to plant this year. Even the USDA itself has issued a 365-page report about the alleged need for farmers to be able to plant the RoundUp Ready sugar beets under a “closely monitored permit process intended to prevent contamination of other crops.”

The irony of the proposal is that cross-contamination is one of the reasons why the sugar beets were banned in the first place. The court ruling declared that a proper Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) had to be put together before any further plantings could take place (, and one of the goals of the statement is to determine how the GMO crop affects non-GMO and organic crops.

But growers and Monsanto do not want to wait. Using fear-driven rhetoric about how sugar prices will rise dramatically if plantings do not take place, the various groups are pushing to bypass the ruling and essentially re-legalize the plantings.

According to Lyndsay Cole, spokeswoman for the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), Monsanto provided no details in its request that explained how it planned to “monitor” growers. And when asked, a Monsanto spokesman did not provide an answer.

The USDA is accepting comments on the issue from the public until December 6, 2010. You can submit your comments here:

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